You might think it’s another one of those Superfoods which are way more nutritious than any other berries you can find in the supermarket. It tastes sweet and so fruity. And more importantly, it looked so ‘instagrammable’ with other fruits as decor. So it seems okay to think that a bowl of acai berry, which costs as much as a cup of Starbucks ice-blend, is totally worth it. It’s so rare that you can’t really find it here in Singapore except in the Amazon forest in Brazil.
But there’s totally more to that. It’s more than just a berry with a higher percentage of antioxidants and dietary fibre.
1. Only about 15% of the acai fruit is edible.
Acai berries are harvested from tall, slender palm trees found around along the Amazon River basin of South America. It is traditionally used for its medicinal benefits to heal diarrhoea, parasitic infections, fever, and ulcers.
Unlike blueberries or any other berries (which are commonly known to us), acai berry only has a small percentage of fruit pulp and skin which is edible. The seed itself is huge! So you will need a lot of acai berries to produce sufficient pulp to fill your cup. And it is a laborious process to harvest the fruit from the tree itself. No wonder it is a little more expensive.
And acai berry itself taste a little sourish. To make it more appetizing, you could add in some honey to sweeten it. It makes a world of difference!
2. Acai berry is high in fat.
I wasn’t aware of this initially as I thought that the berries, in general, contains almost no fat at all. But in the case of Acai berry, which is similar to the palm family of species like oil palm and coconut, it is actually a source of fat.
For instance, one cup of fresh, raw blueberries provides 84 calories and no fat. On the other hand, one cup of Acai berries provides 125 calories and 2.4 grams of fat. Acai berry is actually rich in medium chain fatty acids like oleic acid (omega-9) and linoleic acid (omega-6). When left frozen in the freezer, the oil layer actually floats up and cool.
At home, I started making Acai berry bowls from the fresh pulp. And the plastic packaging that wraps around the frozen Acai berry pulp would feel oily.
3. Acai is often marketed as a miracle diet pill.
I am not too sure how a fruit which is high in fat would make a good weight loss supplement. Perhaps, all Superfoods, to the world, is a weight loss supplement. It is not to say that Acai has zero benefits for those trying to lose weight, but it is wrong to say that Acai helps to reduce kilos magically. Acai is often marketed as a solution to weight loss to help detox and cleanse the body. These claims are not yet proven.
Acai is a rich source of antioxidants and dietary fiber which might boost your health, but that doesn’t equate to weight loss.
4. Acai berry is highly perishable
Acai berries are low in sugar and acid so it oxidises easily. They must be processed, pasteurized, and frozen quickly within 24 hours after harvesting. If left unprocessed, the fruit will turn brown over some time and all the beneficial nutrients will be lost.
Thank goodness we are able to process Acai berry fruit pulp so that it has a longer shelf-life. With that, it could be shipped from Brazil to other parts of the world. You can now purchase a pack of frozen Acai berry pulp from Poppy & Co. at all NTUC Finest outlets in Singapore.
Then you would be able to enjoy making Acai berry bowl right at home.
5. Acai berry is super expensive and it is meant for the affluent.
Before the Acai craze started here in Singapore, I was using freeze-dried Acai berry powder to make Acai smoothies. And one bottle of Acai powder (90grams) costs me $25. It is really expensive! Acai powder (90grams) costs me $25. It is really expensive! But right now, I can purchase the frozen Acai berry pulp by Poppy & Co. from the supermarkets at NTUC Finest for a reasonable price.
Each packet is retailed at $12.90 but there an ongoing promotion in the whole of October this year where it is only priced at $21.90 for 2 boxes. There are 4 sachets in a box.
At Poppy & Co., they obtained their Acai directly from the amazing Amazon forest in Brazil. They work with a local community to produce the freshest and highest quality of organic Açaí. Their organic Açaí is harvested, pulped and frozen within 24 hours to retain all the beneficial nutrients.
It contains no additives, preservatives, stabilizers, sweeteners or emulsifiers e.g. soy lecithin.
It is also GMO-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan-friendly. It comes in two forms – pasteurized or raw. The organic raw frozen Acai inevitably will have shorter shelf-life since it is not pasteurized.
The Acai pulp is packed in box made with environmentally-friendly Kraft paper.
Poppy & Co. Organic pasteurized frozen pulp is now available at all NTUC FairPrice Finest outlets, NTUC FairPrice Hypermarkets at JEM and Singapore Sports Hub as well as Go Juice SG and Groxers.